News in Briefs


Gang Wars - In the wee hours of March 27th at The Basement on Franklin Street, three people were shot during a police investigation into the death of an East Side man who was at the club earlier with "friends" that later stabbed him. It was a bold move to upstage nearby rival Sensationz Nightclub, and the shooters made a clean getaway despite the presence of a dozen uniformed officers. Later that Sunday, another man was shot to death on the East Side in retaliation for the stabbing, saving the police, local courts and taxpayers from a lengthy and expensive investigation into the latest round of gang warfare which is always a sure sign that Spring is in the air. The Basement had its liquor license revoked, and is currently closed while the owners come up with a new, less violent theme. In the wake of all this trouble, city officials announced the formation of Operation IMPACT to curb gang warfare, funded by a six hundred thousand dollar grant from the state. If the murder rate in Buffalo increases, we can get more of that state aid, so letís hope The Basement is back in business real soon.

  News Hag Axed - Less than a month after her nightmare bathroom explosion (see BEAST issue #43), Carol Kaplan was fired from WGRZ on March 29th. Why any company would fire a faithful employee who only has two discrimination lawsuits pending against her is a mystery, but Kaplanís star faded long ago (along with her marginally good looks) and sheís unlikely to make the jump to any other local TV station besides the public access channel. At least former Channel 2 anchorbabe Laurie Lisowski can be seen over-emoting for Frye Electric. Kaplan will be lucky to get voiceover work on AM radio. Although the BEAST could not get in touch with Ms. Kaplan, we would like to offer her a chance to be our new mascot, if sheís willing to go topless. Think about it, Carol, itíll be tasteful, of course, and could jumpstart your flagging "career." Itís either that or announcing the morning news on an Alaskan fishing boat. Either, way, the male-to-female ratio is pretty much the same.

State Budget Late Again - Surprise, surprise, the New York State budget, appropriately due April 1st by law, is nowhere near completion, making twenty late budgets in a row. You would think legislators could get their shit together at least one time since the 1980s, but thatís the pathetic state of affairs in Albany. With $100 billion up in the air, our lawmakers are too busy grandstanding and blaming each other to get down to business. Other states have no problem actually doing the work theyíve been elected to perform, while our government no longer even pretends to try. In fact, theyíre on vacation until April 14th, a well-deserved rest after working 29 full days so far this year! The sad thing is nobody even gives a shit anymore; the Albany elite face no penalties, censure, or even mild outrage; the late budget is just a joke to them and itís at our expense. Then again, we deserve to be laughed at for continuing to vote for the same assholes again and again.

Jimmy Macís, Smokiní Again - Rick Naylon, owner of Jimmy Macís, hit a home run with State Supreme Court Justice Rose Sconiers on April 2nd when she granted the bar/restaurant a six month smoking ban waiver. Judge Sconiers, who is a tough but fair justice, ruled that Erie County health commissioner Dr. Anthony Billitier IV significantly overstepped his authority and went far beyond the provisions of the state law by requiring Naylon to prove his business has suffered "solely" on the basis of the smoking ban. In addition, Billitier planned to limit any waivers granted from the state-approved two year term to one year in a move to empower himself with the right to legislate even though he is only an appointed county crony, not a lawmaker. Maybe the good doctor has a hard-on for smokers, or maybe he was just trying to set himself up for some lucrative under-the-table payoffs from desperate bar owners. Either way, Judge Sconiers exposed him for the arrogant lung-nazi he is. Doc Billitier is just another one of the high-minded taxpayer-funded dickheads who run Erie County like itís their personal kingdom and donít care whether businesses thrive or fail as long they do what he says. Hopefully this public slap in the face, to which he has not deemed it necessary to respond, will dislodge the stick up his ass and allow more waivers to be granted.

 School Wars - Bow-tied shithead Andrew Rudnick of the useless Buffalo Niagara Partnership threw a temper tantrum over the Buffalo Teachers Federation boycott of the Carnival in the Park. This event, which raises money for public schools, is the latest battleground between public and charter schools warring over dollar bills. Phil Rumore, BTF president, has denied any union pressure on teachers to withdraw from the event, but with only 10 out of 71 public schools participating as opposed to 53 last year, this claim is obvious PS BS. Public school teachers are more than well compensated and enjoy generous, tax free retirement plans, yet they seem more concerned with protecting their cheese than teaching our kids. Once again, the children are pawns in a game they donít understand. Itís no wonder most of our schools are such dumps. We thank Mr. Rudnick and his ridiculous moustache for defending the kids, but this issue has nothing to do with his purported mission of bringing business into the city. This is why the Partnership is such a joke; the lead guy canít even focus on his job.

Giambra Crony Profits - Michael Muscarella, who resigned his $69,000 a year county job in 2002 after an internal investigation into sexual harassment charges, has been reinstated in his former position as a city building inspector, a $42,000 a year job he left in 1999 to work for his buddy Joel Giambra. Only in Buffalo can a connected insider quit his city job for a county job, leaving the position vacant for almost five years, and call it a "leave of absence." Muscarella is a jerk who flits from one taxpayer job to another, garnering suspensions and censure but never getting fired, because he was at Giambraís wedding and faithfully contributes to both the County Executive and the Mayor. In 1997, as an employee of the Buffalo Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation, a federal investigator found that Muscarella took over three thousand dollars in "inappropriate inspection fees"óin checks made out to him and not the city, but he was never even charged with a crime. What a model government employee: he lies, he steals and he sexually harasses women, yet all Giambra or Masiello care about is getting that 1% (of his taxpayer salary) campaign contribution. Maybe if Muscarella grabs Michelle Giambraís ass, weíll be rid of this scumbag, unless Joel is one of those guys who likes hiding in the closet and watching while he wait for the Cialis to kick in.

Despotic Propaganda - On Sunday, April 4, you may have noticed a "Special to the News" Op-Ed article authored by Joel Giambra and Andrew Rudnick. It was a sky-is-falling piece about how Medicaid costs are killing Erie County. Football-Head and Bow Tie claim that "every single nickel of property tax revenue - and then some - goes toward paying the Medicaid tab," a claim weíve heard for awhile now, and yet are never provided with any budget figures which actually show this. Like a lot of things with these two, we can only take their word for it. The article goes on to make several points on how to reduce Medicaid costs, which are spiraling out of control in New York State. Thanks for the heads up guys, itís a real public service, we all know youíre really open and responsive to our needs, but does this actually help us in any way? If youíre really serious about this Medicaid business, then quit slapping each other on the back because the News printed your letter, drive down to Albany and knock some heads together instead of preaching to the choir. Unless of course the two of you have no credibility downstate and a captive audience is the only one you can reach. Can someone tell us why we canít afford medical care for the poor, but we can pay for oil drilling on Mars?


Royal Flush - Urban visionary/slumlord Carl Paladino came out swinging on April 7th against the Seneca Nationís plan to build a casino in Cheektowaga instead of Buffalo. He and other anonymous downtown businessmen have retained the law firm of Phillips Lytle to lobby the Governor to force the Senecas back into considering a downtown site. A lawsuit isnít far behind, based on a "memorandum of understanding" from 2001 in which the Senecas said they would build one of their three casinos in Buffalo if they found a suitable site. The last time we checked, Giambra, Masiello and Rudnick told the Senecas to fuck off, which is the reason Buffalo is no longer under consideration. Obviously, Paladino hasnít contributed enough money to local officialsí campaigns (hard to believe), so heís taking the only course of action left which may hold up the Senecasí plans for awhile. Why is it that almost every business proposal winds up in the court system around here? Weíll see a casino downtown when thereís a new bridge to Canada - never.

Priest Molests Boy - Okay, well, heís not actually a priest, but 53 year old David Maginn is a "youth worker" at Saint Paulís Evangelical Lutheran Church in Niagara Falls and the FBI busted him for distributing child pornography over his computer last week. Once again, the church is being used as a front for harming children in the most despicable way. If you think about it, it really makes perfect sense: where else can a scumbag with a camera and a boner have ready access to vulnerable, trusting kids? At this point, every church in the country ought to be under investigation, and anyone stupid enough to entrust their children to these people is, well, stupid. God could not be reached for comment, as he has taken an extended leave of absence due to "fatigue."

More Gang Wars - This time itís the motorcycle gangs. On April 6, two pipe bombs were launched into the Lonely Onesí clubhouse in Blasdell but resulted in little damage to the fortified stronghold. The Lonely Ones are affiliated with the notorious Hellís Angels, and authorities believe they are fighting with affiliates of the Outlaws, the number two motorcycle club in the country. We havenít seen much activity of note from these guys since a 1994 battle out at Lancaster Speedway, where the local chapter presidents of the Outlaws and Hellís Angels were respectively shot and stabbed to death. Is it a turf war over drugs or just an initiation ceremony? We have no clue and neither do the police, there are no witnesses or informants, just a lot of scared citizens scrambling for cover a la The Wild One. For our money, weíre betting the Angels win this one; they can muster a sizable presence anywhere in the country at a moments notice. Either way, expect the hostilities to escalate; serious reputations are at stake here and there will be some major stompings in the upcoming weeks, which can only help the murder rate/state aid situation around here.

Ripoff - Congratulations are in order to all the retired city workers bankrupting Buffalo with their sweet health insurance deals for surpassing the expense of current city employees. One of the reasons the city is broke is because weíre paying almost $54 million a year for nose jobs, face lifts, liposuction, and Viagara. There are 2,771 retirees receiving an average of almost $11,000 apiece in health costs per year and are completely covered under plans which donít even require a co-pay for most. This is how companies, or in this case the city, go out of business, because the insiders set themselves up with luxurious benefits without any regard to future affordability. They donít care if itís a back breaker because theyíre all down in Florida basking in the sunshine and milking the system is their way of life. Unfortunately this cow is pretty much tapped out. Just wait for the uproar when the control board mandates this ripoff be rolled back.

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